Senator publishes photos under parliamentary privilege to protect award winning photojournalist from Adani’s hostile legal threats
Photos and documents tabled in the Australian Senate today detailing legal threats made by Adani to a Walkley award winning photojournalist are further evidence of Adani’s aggressive attempts to silence its critics and attack press freedom.
Senator David Pocock has used parliamentary privilege to table photos taken by prominent Australian photojournalist Matthew Abbott and a statement about his experience visiting the site of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine last year.
Mr Abbott was documenting a cultural ceremony conducted by the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners of the land Adani’s coal mine is located on. The ceremony, called Waddananggu, has been running continuously since August 2021 in opposition to Adani’s coal mine and its impacts on the traditional lands and sacred sites of the Wangan and Jagalingou people.
Documents tabled by Senator Pocock reveal Mr Abbott was threatened with legal action by Adani if he published the photos so he asked Senator Pocock ‘to bring this material to the Senate, so it can be widely published under parliamentary privilege without fear of legal repercussions.’
#StopAdani spokesperson Fahimah Badrulhisham says:
“Adani is once again going to extreme lengths to silence its critics and intimidate journalists for simply doing their job. Adani’s ‘attack dog’ legal strategy aggressively pursues independent media with legal threats in an attempt to hide the truth from public view.”
“Matthew Abbott is a widely respected and prominent photojournalist who has a right to be free to do his job and shed light on important issues such as Adani’s climate wrecking coal mine that is destroying sacred Aboriginal land without the consent of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners.”
“It is appalling that an award-winning journalist has had to turn to Senator Pocock to use parliamentary privilege to publish his work. Journalists like Matthew Abbott should be free to tell important stories and not live in fear of hostile legal threats simply for doing their job.”
“Freedom of the press is the backbone of a healthy democracy, Adani’s attacks on journalists are a direct attack on democracy and should be condemned. Adani acts as if basic democratic standards such as freedom of the press do not apply to it and attempts to bully the media to silence any potential criticism.
“Adani group investors such as Barclays, Blackrock, JP Morgan and GQG need to take note; financial support for Adani’s coal is not only turbo charging the climate crisis but is also contributing to the erosion of basic democratic principles such as a free and open press.”